Tenement housing

The term “tenement” is used to define a place or a building which has been divided to several parts – apartments – so that multiple residents could live in it. This kind of housing has got a pejorative meaning after a while. Therefore, it is unusual to hear an ordinary apartment building referred to by this term, except in some isolated regions of the world where its negative meaning has not penetrated.

The defining characteristic of a tenement is that it is a building divided into three or more apartments, and these apartments are leased from a landlord who owns the entire building. Many buildings have vast numbers of apartments and multiple stories to accommodate them all.

In the United States, tenements housed the majority of new immigrants to the country in the 19th and early 20th century. These buildings were cramped, crowded, and poorly constructed. Often, multiple families lived in the same apartment together to save rent, leaving minimal space, and the buildings were poorly ventilated. Many also lacked water and basic sanitation, and they were probably extremely unpleasant to live in.

Tenements in the US:




Tenement houses in the UK:

ca10 urbantenement


Tenement houses are usually dark and narrow and not a really good place to live in. the buildings that were transformed to tenement apartments were usually not designed and planed to embed so many people. Density of so many people in a small place would not be a good choice because it could easily cause transmission. Also so many people would be in danger and not be able to escape in case anything dangerous happened. such as fire, earthquake and other disasters.


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